Everest might be the king of peaks, but its adventure quotient is declining. Consequently, an increasing number of mountaineers are opting for more challenging lesser peaks across the Indian Himalayas.
This, according to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), is evident from the phenomenal rise in applications from climbers — foreign and domestic — in recent years.
"We have been receiving over 60 applications from Indian clubs annually. The pressure to explore the Indian Himalayas is increasing from foreigners too," said IMF secretary Col HS Chauhan.
"One of the reasons is that Mt Everest is no longer been considered adventurous enough. Expeditions to the tallest peak (in Nepal) are conducted, and all its approaches have been exhausted once too often," he told HT.
Chauhan, IMF chairman Ramakrishna Rao and Col BS Rana, principal of Darjeeling-based Himalayan Mountaineering Institute were here to oversee a camp of 35 climbers attempting the first Everest expedition from the north-eastern states. The expedition is slated for 2011.
Rao, also the former director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, said Kamet topped the list of popular peaks in the Indian Himalayas.
"Many other peaks, shorter but higher on difficulty level, are getting up there while a newer crop of climbers is targetting some between 6,000-7,000 metres yet to be conquered," he added.
Kamet prospered after Nanda Devi was made out of bounds following its notification as a protected area in 1982.
Another factor drawing international climbers to the Indian Himalayas is its ecological purity compared to the much-explored Nepal Himalayas.